GECA takes on ‘Beauty’

Published 9:51 pm Wednesday, July 29, 2009

By By MaryClaire Foster
special to the standard

The Greater Escambia Council for the Arts is once again bringing Broadway to Atmore with their newest production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”
Phil Johnson, director of the musical, said besides “Titanic” this is the troupe’s biggest performance undertaking to date, with 72 people playing 101 characters and a much more involved set.
Johnson said the complexity of the set is the reason for the performance only being held in Atmore, as opposed to their usual setup of having performances in both Atmore and Brewton.
Johnson said GECA has been considering putting on “Beauty and the Beast” for some time, but had put it on hold for several reasons. One such reason being the competitiveness of GECA members for the highly prized parts. To solve the problem, a director from Pensacola was brought in for the auditions. Johnson said one reason for going ahead with the production is to spark interest in younger thespians.
Johnson said the plan worked with 27 cast members under the age of 12.
Performances will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday with a friends and family show. Tickets will not be sold at the door for this performance, but may be bought ahead of time.
Friday and Saturday nights’ performances will also be at 7 p.m. with tickets sold at the door and again at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Adult tickets are $8 and children tickets are $5.  Tickets may be purchased from any cast member, at the door, or by going to the GECA Web site at
The “rose” from Beauty and the Beast will be sold for $5 and a photo opportunity will be held following the Friday night show.